Rev­o­lu­tion­ary gave up medicine for his cause

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - Relax - By Laura Smith LASMITH@SUNDAYPOST.COM

They­were the fi­nal words of Ernesto “Che” Gue­vara.

“Do not shoot! I am Che Gue­vara and worth more to you alive than dead.”

He ut­tered them as he was cap­tured by the Bo­li­vian Army in a ravine near La Higuera in Bo­livia 50 years ago.

Ini­tial re­ports stated that the Marx­ist rev­o­lu­tion­ary died from wounds sus­tained dur­ing a bloody bat­tle that saw the Co­man­dante and his group of 17 guer­ril­las an­ni­hi­lated by US-backed Bo­li­vian troops.

But de­spite the CIA re­quest­ing he be flown to the US for ques­tion­ing, Che was taken to a nearby school­house and ex­e­cuted the next day, Oc­to­ber 9, 1967, aged 39.

Af­ter he was shot sev­eral times by Sergeant, Mario Teran, Che’s hands were cut off as proof of his death while his body was buried in an un­marked grave.

It would be an­other 30 years before Che’s re­mains were re­cov­ered be­neath a land­ing strip in Val­le­grande.

His body was sent to Cuba and re­buried in a cer­e­mony at­tended by President Fidel Cas­tro and thou­sands of Cubans.

News of the death of Cas­tro’s for­mer right-hand man spread quickly around the world and Che be­came a coun­ter­cul­ture sym­bol of anti-im­pe­ri­al­ism, re­bel­lion and rev­o­lu­tion.

The Ar­gen­tinian was born Ernesto Rafael Gue­vara de la Serna in 1928.

He qualified as a doc­tor in 1953, but left Ar­gentina to mo­tor­cy­cle around South Amer­ica, where he en­coun­tered the poverty and op­pres­sion of the lower classes.

This fu­elled his de­sire to end what he saw as the cap­i­tal­ist ex­ploita­tion of Latin Amer­ica by the US.

He joined forces with Cas­tro in Mex­ico in 1956, and was one of 12 sur­vivors of the failed Cuban takeover in the same year.

An ex­pe­ri­enced guer­rilla leader, he later helped or­ches­trate Cas­tro’s “26th of July Move­ment”, which seized power in Cuba in 1959, top­pling US-backed dic­ta­tor Ful­gen­cio Batista.

He rose to be­come Min­is­ter of Industries, but in an ef­fort to spread his rev­o­lu­tion­ary ideals across Latin Amer­ica, Che re­signed in April, 1965.

He resur­faced in Bo­livia years later, where his cam­paign came to its vi­o­lent end.

An iconic photo of Che by pho­tog­ra­pher Al­berto Korda has be­come one of the mostre­pro­duced im­ages of all time.

In an ironic twist of fate, his ex­e­cu­tioner, Teran, was back in the news 40 years later af­ter he had his sight re­stored by Cuban doc­tors.

He re­ceived treat­ment thanks to a project that of­fers free eye treat­ment to poor peo­ple across Latin Amer­ica – some­thing Che would no doubt have wel­comed.

Che Gue­vara’s im­age is still prom­i­nent in Cuba to­day, 50 years af­ter his death

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